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Football & Banking: Always Evolving

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

By: Kristin Parker

Super Bowl LVI is this weekend and it has got me thinking about how football has evolved over the years. We don’t even have to go back to the inception of football, or even the early 90’s when this photo was taken of me and former Miami Dolphins’ quarterback Dan Marino, to talk about how much the game has changed (look at my haircut!).

The game has gotten faster, it’s based more on analytics than ever before, and quarterbacks have evolved into being more than just pocket passers. Winning strategies evolve each year - much like those in banking - and if your team isn’t keeping up to date you’re likely going to end up grasping to have any wins.

Running a financial institution is a team sport and those who don’t think of it as such are missing the mark. It’s never one team member that wins a game. If Tom Brady didn’t have an offensive line that afforded him time in the pocket to throw game-winning touchdowns he likely would have never achieved the success he had in his long NFL career (and yes, as a Dolphins fan I’m glad he’s retired).

Financial institutions must understand that in order to stay relevant, competitive, and achieve strategic objectives they must give a seat at the table to each department so there is a collective understanding of targeted goals. Every NFL team has multiple coaches for both offense, defense, and the underlying skill positions in each and the same should occur at a financial institution. For example, think of Business Development as playing offense, trying to score big points to get the team ahead. Think of Compliance/BSA as defense, trying to safeguard the institution from scoring points that may later be challenged. If Business Development and BSA/Compliance “coaches” were only directing their team to play to achieve their own targeted departmental goals and not communicating with each other, it’s likely that both departments would be counterproductive to the institution’s overall strategic objective.

Everyone knows that the strategic objective at the beginning of a NFL football season is to win the Super Bowl - but how that goal is executed always looks different at the beginning of a season than it does at the end of the season. Teams without a dynamic and evolving strategy to win don’t typically end up with a Super Bowl ring on their finger. Just look at the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. They went 15-1 throughout the regular season and made it all the way to the Super Bowl only to flop because they went into that game playing the exact same strategy they did all year. They failed to take into account that the Broncos had studied their game film and planned strategies to stop them. The Panthers lost that game 24-10 and it was an embarrassment to all players and the coaching staff.

To be successful an institution needs to stay abreast of changing trends in financial services such as consumer expectations for funds accessibility, new business growth and their needs, or even new strategies developed and deployed by new or existing competitors. The time will come when static institutions will be taken down by those who care to stay nimble and involve all team members to achieve their strategic objectives to stay competitive and relevant. An institution that is successful today may not be that way forever if the right coaching isn’t in place to help them evolve into what consumers are demanding.

Here’s some food for thought for you to consider: Are you being the best coach or team member you can be to help your institution come out on top? Is your institution’s strategic plan nimble enough to change and evolve to help your institution stay relevant and prepare for the future and market needs and demands? If not, what are you going to do to get your team back on track to become Super Bowl champions?